Video: Dominican hookers accuse Senator Menendez of underpaying them

Every few years, a prominent national politician ends up getting exposed in a salacious sex scandal, allowing the other party to cluck their tongues in sanctimony … until it’s their own politician who gets caught in the snare.  It’s been a while since we walked the Appalachian Trail or took a wide stance, although the recent Secret Service sex scandal in Colombia (and elsewhere) made for a pretty good placeholder.  This time, it’s the Democrats’ turn to squirm as the Daily Caller breaks a story about Senator Robert Menendez and alleged trysts with hookers in the Dominican Republic — and his stinginess:

In interviews, the two women said they met Menendez around Easter at Casa de Campo, an expensive 7,000 acre resort in the Dominican Republic. They claimed Menendez agreed to pay them $500 for sex acts, but in the end they each received only $100.

The women spoke through a translator in the company of their attorney, Melanio Figueroa. Both asked that their identities remain obscured for fear of reprisals in the Dominican Republic.

When shown a photograph of Sen. Menendez, the women said they recognized him as the man with whom they’d had sexual relations at Casa de Campo this spring. Both said they were brought to the resort with the understanding they would be paid for sex.

Neither knew the identity of the man at the time. Both claimed to recognize him later as Sen. Menendez.

Menendez has made a number of trips to the Dominican Republic, with the DC reporting that Menendez sometimes flies on a private plane loaned to him by a campaign donor with a vacation house in the country.  The same donor owns Casa de Campo.  That arrangement might end up causing Menendez more problems (with the FEC) than his alleged arrangements with these two hookers.

Menendez’ office denies these allegations, and with an election in five days, it’s not much mystery why they won’t give this additional oxygen by commenting further.  Menendez appeared ready to cruise to re-election against Joseph Kyrillos, a state Senator who won 77% of the vote in the primary.  Menendez needs this like a hole in the head, but it’s not clear whether this will do much harm even at this stage of the race.  Republicans hate to have this pointed out, but David Vitter’s still in the Senate after a scandal involving prostitution, and I’m not sure that New Jersey is any more morally strict than Louisiana when it comes to that sort of issue.

The story itself seems rather suspicious, even if — a rather large if — it turns out to be true.  Neither of these two women knew who “Bob” was at the time of the alleged transaction by their own admission.  How, then, did they come to realize his identity and choose to make it public?  At least according to this video, they seem to have become aware of Menendez’ identity only when told about it by someone else.  So who was that someone else, and how did they know about it?